Atlantis Submarines celebrates 5 year anniversary of Carthaginian artificial reef
Five years ago this week, Lahaina’s Carthaginian was transformed into an artificial reef by Atlantis Submarines. The 97-foot whaling vessel was sunk a half mile offshore of Lahaina after outliving its life as a popular tourist attraction above sea and anchored near shore.
The Lahaina Restoration Foundation first approached Atlantis in 2003 about acquiring the rusted Carthaginian and giving the deteriorating vessel a more noble retirement as an artificial reef.
Today, the old whaling ship sits in 95 feet of water on a sandy ocean bottom between Puamana and Launiupoko. In five short years, it has become a self-sustaining habitat to a variety of indigenous fish and marine life.
“Thankfully, we were able to keep the Carthaginian here in Lahaina where she belongs, but she is now serving a greater purpose as an artificial reef for fish and other marine life to flourish,” said Jim Walsh, General Manager of Atlantis Submarines Maui. “It’s a fantastic story about the benefits of environmental sustainability that only gets better with each passing day,” said Walsh.
Officials with Atlantis say they see artificial reef development as part of a larger global effort supporting ocean conservation and practicing responsible tourism. The artificial reefs is intended to provide a place for young fish to flourish, and a substrate for coral to take hold and grow.
Atlantis Submarines Maui offers six undersea tours daily, departing from Lahaina Harbor each hour from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children must be at least 36” tall to participate. More information is available by calling (800) 548-6262 or visiting their website at www.atlantissubmarines.com.